SWEDEN – The 40 billion-crown (4.5 billion-euro) Seventh Swedish National Pension Fund, Sjunde AP-fonden, has sacked CDC Ixis Asset Management – the first time it has fired an asset manager for poor performance.

CDC Ixis AM – renamed earlier this month as Ixis Asset Management - lost its 1.9 billion-crown European equity brief because it did not deliver the required return of one percent above index, AP7's executive president Peter Norman told IPE.

“This is the first time it has happened,” Norman said, explaining the dismissal would not necessarily be a one-off. “We want our managers to take our targets very seriously.”

AP7 has three European equity portfolios, worth about eight billion crowns. State Street Global Advisors is in charge of 50% of the portfolio, and the rest used to be equally split between Goldman Sachs Asset Management International and Ixis.

Following the dismissal, Goldman Sachs is going to take over Ixis’ share, but only on a temporary basis, Norman said. AP7 is on the lookout for a new manager to be appointed by the first quarter of 2005.

Ixis, which is part of Groupe Caisse D’Epargne, was not available for comment.

Groupe Caisse D’Epargne recently said it would split its CDC IXIS subsidiaries into IXIS Corporate & Investment Bank, IXIS Investor Services and IXIS Asset Management.

AP7 recently bought five percent of the Stockholm-based socially responsible investment research company Ethix SRI Advisors for one million crowns.